Voters Approve 91 Percent of Transportation Funding Measures

November 7, 2013

Voters approved 91 percent of Nov. 5, 2013 ballot measures to increase or extend funding for highways, bridges and transit, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). Voters also elected transportation investment advocates as governor in New Jersey and Virginia.

According to ARTBA, there were 21 ballot initiatives at the state and local level, the largest number in a decade for a year that did not include congressional races or a presidential election. The total value of the approved measures was nearly $240 million. On average, the successful ballot measures were approved with 67 percent of the vote.

The approval rate for transportation funding measures is greater than in previous years; voters approved 68 percent of similar measures in 2012 and 55 percent in 2011.

Of the 21 measures, one was statewide and 20 were local. Four of the five bond initiatives were approved by voters. Twelve ballot measures were for increasing, extending or renewing a sales tax for transportation purposes, and other measures addressed property taxes, a card room tax, and a transaction and use tax.

In Maine’s statewide initiative, 72 percent of voters supported a $100 million transportation bond, which will also leverage an additional $154 million from federal and state funds.

Arizona voters considered several bond measures. In Mesa, voters approved Question 2, which will authorize $79 million in new general obligation bonds to pay for streets and highway improvement projects. Fountain Hills voters approved $8.2 million in general obligation bonds to also fund new road improvements.

In Virginia, residents of Loudon County passed a $3.18 million bond to fund public road projects.

In California, four cities in Marin County—Corte Madera, Larkspur, San Rafael, and San Anselmo—successfully passed sales tax increase ballot measures to fund transportation and other general services.

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, voters approved—with 62% support—a tax extension proposal to renew a one-cent local option sales tax to fund infrastructure projects for a ten-year period. This measure will use 100% of the new revenues to fund street maintenance, repair, construction and reconstruction projects.

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who in January 2011 laid out a five-year, $8 billion “pay-as-you-go” plan to fund road, bridge and transit projects in the state, won 60 percent of the vote in a reelection.

In Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, beat Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Earlier this year, McAuliffe lobbied the state’s legislature to support a bipartisan transportation funding package bolstered by new revenue that was being pushed by the current governor, Republican Bob McDonnell. During the campaign, McAuliffe supported—and Cuccinelli opposed—construction of major road and transit improvement projects in Northern Virginia.

In addition to these November election results, ARTBA also tracked 16 ballot measures throughout the year—82 percent were successfully approved by voters. The total value of these measures was $93 million.